Tuesday 25th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Driver shortage prompts Pallet-Track rate increase

Pallet-Track is to increase its member-to-member rates for delivery tariffs on all pallet sizes the first time in its ten-year history as driver recruitment hits all-time low.

Nigel Parkes, founder and managing director of Pallet-Track, said: “To fill the positions and continue to offer the same levels of high service that our customers have come to expect, we need to increase driver salaries, and this can only be done by enforcing a nominal rates increase across the network.”

A meeting comprised of 95 per cent of Pallet-Track’s members convened to discuss the issue, with 80 per cent voting in favour of the rate rise.

Order sizes have continued growing year-on-year, while driver recruitment has hit an all-time low, according to Parkes.

“In the past two months we’ve seen the same amount of growth as we have in the previous 14 months and it’s no longer sustainable to keep operating at the same prices we were back in 2004,” said Parkes.

Figures from the national benefits office suggest that there are only enough drivers seeking employment to fill 20 per cent of the vacancies currently advertised. While statistics released by the Road Haulage Association puts the average age of a HGV driver at 53, with drivers aged 25 or under accounting for just five per cent.

“I believe we’re the first organisation to attempt to address the problem that we’re currently facing, but I’m confident that others will soon follow suit,” said Parkes.

“It was a difficult decision, but a fair one. The industry cannot be driven on the downward pressure on price. The maths are the same for all the networks – although price increases are not palatable in the short term, without them there has to be an industry-wide impact upon quality of service.”